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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Robertson, James
Author Role
Presenter
Author Affiliation
Department of History and Archaeology
Paper/Section Title
'Butting and bounding, South on a street in front of Sarah Rodrigues Deleon': Finding directions in Spanish Town, Jamaica 1757- 1840
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Proceedings Title
First Geography Department Seminar
Date of Meeting
March, 2005
Place of Meeting
University of the West Indies
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Abstract
In 1999 the 'Parade' or 'King's House Square' at the centre of Spanish Town, the former capital of Jamaica, was renamed 'Emancipation Square.' Driving the thirteen miles out to Spanish Town from Kingston travellers use the Mandela Highway and, depending on their route, they may well reach that highway via Washington Boulevard. The impulse to give politically resonant names to squares, highways and streets remains alive and well in modern Jamaica. This paper examines names and naming as elements within the 'mental maps' employed by earlier generations of townspeople. Today scholars seeking to interrogate 'the spatial forms and fantasies through which a culture declares its presence', recognize that in urban contexts these can include the names and nicknames given to streets. Examining the answers that earlier generations of townspeople gave when they responded to requests for directions in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Spanish Town highlights which landmarks shaped residents' comprehension of its distinctive urban spaces.....
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